India is on its way to universal health care, funding what might be the world’s largest health care program, according to India’s finance minister. The program is aimed at helping 100 million people from low income communities. Families will have up to $7,800 of coverage each year. The government plans to build 150,000 health centers with free drugs and diagnostic services that will be easily accessible to people. India’s government also has plans to set up 24 government hospitals and medical schools.
The Indian government has dubbed the plan “Modicare” and plans to allocate $311 million of the new federal budget to it. The government will also contribute close to $1.1 billion. More details on the new plan will be released soon. People living in urban vs. rural areas don’t have the same access to health care. Metropolitan areas have more providers to choose from, public and private, while rural residents have fewer choices, some of whom don’t have formal medical training. The new plan aims to even things out. Studies in the state of Rajasthan show that free medicine and diagnostic services have a positive effect on patient usage. Universal healthcare is becoming the norm all over the world — perhaps one day almost everyone will have easy access to it.